If I feel that the processor, memory or storage in a system is underperforming then I normally use benchmark and/or diagnostics software to test it. All of the software I normally use for this purpose is included in the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows
. By comparing the results observed on a suspect system against those produced by similar systems I can determine whether the observed performance is normal or not. In most cases the performance turns out to be normal, as how fast a system "feels" is very subjective. However in some cases a real issue may be uncovered. If the measured performance is not as expected then that usually indicates some sort of problem, in which case I would use normal troubleshooting procedures to find the cause.
For example in several cases I've observed what I thought was significantly lower than normal HDD performance. The systems in question were booting and running without errors or crashes, however reading or writing to the drives seemed to be very slow. In these cases I used HDtune
to test the drives and the transfer rates observed were one quarter or less than what was normal for the same make and model drives on similar systems. Based on this evidence I then checked and tested everything related and/or connected to the drives including the motherboard BIOS version and settings, drive jumper settings, motherboard SATA ports, drive firmware, cables and even the power supplies.
In several cases I found that the root cause was a defective SATA cable
, replacing the cables caused drive performance to return to normal rates. While that is not necessarily common, many people don't realize that a cable can partially fail such that a connected drive will still actually work, albeit slowly or intermittently. In another case I found that the drive firmware had a bug
, after updating the firmware to the latest version performance returned to normal. Scott.